*Updated September 2022

At Team Tactics we interpret ‘Team Building’ as the processes behind a team of people which enable them to reach their common goal more efficiently. Perhaps more importantly we emphasise the need for fun interaction between individuals’.

Ready, Set, Go for FUN!

Team building in the workplace is important if employers want to get the most out of their workforce. Improved communication between employees themselves, as well as between employees and higher management, can be a direct result of a team building exercise in the workplace. Team building also improves staff morale and contributes significantly to employee motivation and builds trust among employees ensuring better productivity.

Team Building in Sport

Team Building in Sport

As a team sport includes any sport which involves two or more players working together towards a shared objective, it is clear to see how important team building in sport can be. A sports team requires a lot of time and energy dedicated to building a culture which leads to success. Teams that are negative and have unhealthy competition often cause conflict between team members and can definitely interfere with performing at its best.

Indian Cricket – Playing Together, Staying Together

Before the start of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, The Indian cricket team were seen playing paint ball. Why? Because their team management believes that a team that plays together, stays together.

Team Bonding activities were carefully planned for the cricket team during the tournament with team members provided with a weekly activity schedule. Activities were carefully planned, from fun games to meals within small groups, often with team members they may not usually associate with; perhaps those from different regions of the country and with different main languages.

There is an emphasis on team bonding being organic rather than forced. Players may be encouraged to get to know each other naturally by being scheduled on the same gym slot for example.

Building relationships between team mates through team bonding has been a feature of Indian cricket for some time. In the 1970’s; team members were encouraged to dress up and re-enact scenes from pop culture. Whilst team building has evolved since then, it is still about building relationships and trust between team members. It was between the mid 90’s and early 2000’s when team building was neglected that the Indian team seemed disjointed and lacking in trust between players.

Cricket Match

How do Sports stars use team building?

Wayne Rooney & Team Bonding

Wayne Rooney has been known to extend his captaincy duties away from the pitch in what have been described as ‘Team Bonding Sessions’. Rooney understands the importance of integration of new players with a particular need for foreign players. His interpretation of team building has included several ‘team-bonding’ nights with their wives and girlfriends.

Rooney believes it is important for the families of players to interact and explains:

‘’If they can do that, it will certainly help players settle in a lot quicker. I felt it was important for the team and for the lads to enjoy themselves’’.

When Team Building exercises go wrong:

England Rugby & Horse Team Building

England Rugby may well have demonstrated how teambuilding can go wrong if it’s not implemented properly. The team started their Rugby World Cup campaign in 2015 with an interesting and quite bizarre team building concept. As part of their pre-tournament leadership exercises, former head coach Steven Lancaster’s behind the scenes team took part in an exercise involving horses. It is believed each person had to choose a horse to guide around a number of obstacles and over a water jump. How the participants interacted with and gained trust with the horse was assessed and concluded with a meal and champagne for everyone.

“Quit horsing around!”

This eccentric warm up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup created further embarrassment after they failed to qualify from Pool A in their world cup campaign. Our guess is that there was a lot less horsing around in the pre Six Nations warm up campaign. A lesson learned in the importance of team building in sports.

Team Building Success Stories:

Leicester City FC – Working together for clean sheets and pizza

LCFC Lift The Premier League Trophy
Peter Woodentop, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At the start of the 2015/16 Premier league football season, the target for Claudio Ranieri and his team was simple – avoid relegation.

The team made a fantastic start, winning five of their first nine games and defying pundits’ predictions of being Premier League strugglers. Ranieri however, was concerned about the team’s performance defensively. He wrote in The Player’s Tribune:

“The first nine games, we were winning, but we were giving up many goals. We had to score two or three goals to win every game. It concerned me very much.

After trying many motivational approaches to stop his team conceding goals, Ranieri told his players before their game against Crystal Palace:

“Come on boys, come on. I offer you a pizza if you get a clean sheet.”

The team kept a clean sheet winning one-nil. Ranieri was true to his word taking the team to Peter Pizzeria in Leicester City Square; but with an added surprise. When we got there he told the players:

“You have to work for everything. You work for your pizza, too. We will make our own.”

The team made their own pizzas from scratch enjoying their time in the kitchen and the end result. Like most good team building activities, a fun and memorable reward experience was combined with team bonding and working together.

Leicester City achieved many more clean-sheets that season and many pundits’ tip for relegation went on to win an incredible league title, defying bookmakers’ odds of 5000-1.

Was their Pizzeria trip part of their success? Ranieri is convinced that it was a key ingredient in their improved defending:

“Now, we make a lot of clean sheets. A dozen clean sheets after the pizza, in fact. I think this is no coincidence.”

Pizza Making

Chelsea Football Club & Team Building

Although Chelsea’s 2015/2016 premier league season did not going to plan with the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December, their previous season was one to remember. Chelsea won the title with three games to spare and were enjoying another successful year at the top of the premier league table. Another success before their downturn was the capital cup with an exhilarating 2-0 win against rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

It was reported that former coach Jose Mourinho worked on a number of team bonding exercises ahead of their win at Wembley Stadium in 2015. Players were split into two teams as they worked on several ball skills along with an extra tactical session at their Cobham training centre. Mourinho described his aim of bringing his new generation of players through with a mentality that playing at Wembley is ‘normal’ in order to show no fear against the rivals. Perhaps the team needed a lot more of these so called ‘team bonding’ sessions throughout the 2015/2016 season!

Team Building Behind Great Britain’s Davis Cup Success

2015 was an amazing year for British Tennis having won the first Davis Cup in 79 years. Leon Smith was the team captain behind the enormous success and shared some of his secrets to building and managing a successful team unit.

Here are our favourites:

  1. Base difficult decisions on facts, not emotions
  2. Never let your work environment go stale
  3. Encourage the classic principles of hard work and reward
  4. Good teams are built on good preparation
  5. Teams don’t work unless everyone is having fun

We congratulate the team on their immense success and admire them for their understanding of the importance of team building in sports!